PATTERN marks 10th year with new initiative

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Polina Osherov co-founded PATTERN with an eye on the fashion industry. Her vision keeps expanding as the nonprofit celebrates its 10th anniversary.

“Originally, it was very much focused on the fashion industry, and over the last five or six years it evolved to be more broad to include the entire creative class, not just fashion designers, but photographers, models, graphic designers, content creators, videographers, illustrators and folks like that,” said the Carmel resident, PATTERN’s executive director. “The key thing is we’ve built a pretty incredible place for fashion lovers and creatives in the city.”

Fittingly, Osherov founded StitchWorks, an industrial sewing certificate program, with the help of a recent $30,000 grant from the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation. A StitchWorks open house scheduled for March 19 had to be canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. StitchWorks has been pressed into action with the need for medical supplies.

Eskanazi Hospital commissioned StitchWorks to create isolation gowns, with a goal of producing 2,500. Approximately 1,000 have been completed as of April 13. Some of the masks are being donated, while others are available for purchase. The sewers who are making masks are volunteers, while those making gowns are being paid. StitchWorks is looking for more sewers. For more information, visit stitchworksindy.com/covid-19.

“StitchWorks was created in response to the ever-changing retail environment, which favors small designers and retailers less and less, thanks to offshoring and its by-product, fast fashion,” Osherov said. “Not only has the fast-fashion movement been detrimental to the environment, but it has also meant a decrease in people with the skills to sew. The movement of apparel production overseas has meant national job losses and the impending death of the craft. Small, local designers are affected most by the fast-fashion movement.”

The nonprofit produces PATTERN magazine twice a year.

“The magazine is not there to sell fashion but to tell stories of our creative community, but with a fashion aesthetic,” Osherov said. “It looks like a fashion magazine because we have a lot of beautiful fashion photography. You’re not going to find a lot of stuff like, ‘Go by this or wear that.’ The magazine is a small part of what we do.”

Osherov said PATTERN has mentored more than 75 college students as part of its internship and mentoring programs. There is a fellowship program between college and a first job where graduates can gain more experience.

“They get very hands-on with all of these things,” she said. “A lot of time it’s sink or swim.”

Within the past decade, PATTERN has organized more than 90 events, including annual programs like St’Artup 317 and the SUPPLY trade show, which is tentatively set for Aug. 15.

“St’Artup 317 is an initiative we have with Indy Chamber. It’s part of the city of Indianapolis’ retail strategy of trying to fill up all of those empty storefronts we have around town,” Osherov said. “The challenge is that overall retail is not doing that great. What we do have is a lot of small business owners and artists who love the opportunity to show their work.”

That is typically set for May, but that is subject to change with the pandemic.

For more, visit patternindy.com.


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